“Urban agriculture is about growing and distributing food in the communities where people live, work, shop and play. If you are out in your field or in your garden and you stand up and look around and there are neighbors and people around you who have some kind of influence over what you do there, you’re an urban farmer.”
—Katherine Kelly, Cofounder and Executive Director of Cultivate Kansas City
Urban Agriculture: Over 80% of Americans live in urban areas. Urban agriculture is a story of growing food on windy rooftops, in once vacant lots and empty warehouses. As Eli Zigas of San Francisco’s SPUR explains it: “Urban agriculture’s real contribution is … in the number of people it touches who can then understand and learn about food, how we grow it and how it feeds us.”
Title: (Sub)Urban Micro Farm
Featuring: Craig Ruggless and Gary Jackemuk
Location: Winnetka Farms, Winnetka, California
Craig Ruggless and Gary Jackemuk started this farm in their backyard in Winnetka, California to grow what they couldn’t find in their local supermarket. Gary says, “In the last twenty years, we’ve lost hundreds of varieties of vegetables from our tables, because commercial growers simply stopped growing them. The U.S. has basically one zucchini and one yellow crook neck squash that is grown nationally and they’re both horrible. People of this generation don’t know they’re missing.”
Short film: “A Tale of Two Rooftops” by The Perennial Plate
Urban agriculture closes the gap between city dwellers and their food. Rooftop farms serve many functions. They add environmentally beneficial green space to cities, increase the local food supply, cool the building in the summer and reduce the burden on city sewers by absorbing rainwater. An urban rooftop makes the perfect garden because it gets great light and strong winds, which, admittedly, can present a challenge.
This short film from The Perennial Plate tells the tale of two men, two cities, and two farms in Beijing and Hong Kong, highlighting alternative farming practices in urban China.
Recipe of the Week: Butternut Squash Soup
Enjoy the many flavors a local garden can provide with this delicious, aromatic soup recipe from Chef Ann Cooper.
For the past three years, the Lexicon of Sustainability has sought out the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming to gain their insights and experiences on this important subject. What began as a photography project to spread their knowledge has grown to include short films, study guides, traveling shows, a book, and a website where people can add their own terms to this ever-evolving lexicon. See more at www.lexiconofsustainability.com.